Does Shopping Around for A Mortgage Pre-Approval Hurt Your Credit Rating?

Does Shopping Around for A Mortgage Pre-Approval Hurt Your Credit Rating?Smart homebuyers know that mortgage rates and terms can vary widely among lenders. While your credit score and history will influence what rates and terms you’re offered, there’s a wide range of flexibility, which means shopping around for a pre-approval makes sense. At the same time, it’s important to minimize credit inquiries to protect your credit rating.

What is Mortgage Pre-Approval?

Mortgage pre-approval is often mistaken for mortgage pre-qualification. Pre-qualification is a process whereby the borrower personally submits their financial information to the lender. Pre-approval is the process whereby the lender does their own vetting regarding the income, debt and credit of a potential borrower. Pre-approvals will involve a hard “hit” to the credit score, due to the inquiry.

Pre-Qualification Doesn’t Guarantee Pre-Approval

Note that just because you are pre-qualified for a certain amount, that doesn’t guarantee pre-approval. So it’s important to go ahead and get the official pre-approval before shopping for a home. This will make you a more attractive homebuyer to sellers. 

Mortgage Hard Inquiries Make Credit Scores Dip

When lenders do a true pre-approval inquiry, it will make the credit score dip temporarily. This is an automatic process that happens because it looks like the person is looking to get more credit, which they are. Small drops from hard inquiries are temporary and will bounce back up in a short period of time.

Mortgage Inquiries Don’t Count

However, mortgage inquiries now don’t count on a credit rating, anymore. Lenders know that borrowers will be shopping around for the best rates and terms. As long as the inquiries take place in a short period of time, the inquiries will count only as one single hard inquiry, rather than multiple hard inquiries. In the event that multiple hard inquiries are noted on a credit report, as long as they are all from the same type of lender—a mortgage lender—it won’t count against the borrower.

The bottom line is that it’s wise to get multiple quotes when shopping for a mortgage. It’s more important to have a long-standing history of paying bills on time and managing credit well, than it is to worry about mortgage “hard inquiries.” Your real estate agent will help you to navigate getting multiple quotes in a short time span. Contact your agent to learn more.

What Is A High Enough Credit Score For A Mortgage?

What Is A High Enough Credit Score For A Mortgage?There are many people who are interested in purchasing a home for the first time. Even though many first-time homeowners are interested in the sticker price of a home, it is just as important to consider credit scores. Anyone who requires financing to purchase a home will have to go through a credit check. What credit score is considered high enough for a home loan? What do people have to do if they want to increase their credit scores?

What Credit Bureaus Do Lenders Use?

First, a credit score is a reflection of someone’s overall financial health. A lender wants to make sure someone has the ability to pay back a mortgage before they give that person a home loan. The higher someone’s credit score is, the more likely the lender believes he or she will have that loan repaid. 

In general, there are three major credit bureaus. They include Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Most lenders are going to run something called a triple merge (or a trimerge) when they check someone’s credit. This means the lender is going to check someone’s credit score with all three major credit bureaus before deciding if someone should receive a home loan. All three major credit bureaus calculate credit scores using the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, numbers, but they calculate credit scores slightly differently. 

What Is Considered A Solid Credit Score?

Every lender has a slightly different metric, but a credit score less than 580 is considered poor. In contrast, a credit score over 800 is considered excellent. The maximum credit score someone can have is 850. If a loan is given to someone with a score under 620, this is considered a “subprime” loan. It is possible for people to qualify for a home loan with a low credit score, but they may be facing a higher interest rate.

Those who are interested in raising their credit score should pay all of their bills on time. It is also important for individuals to pay down as much of their debt as possible before applying for a home loan. This could help them increase their credit scores and get approved for a loan with a solid interest rate. 

 

Boosting Your Credit Score To Qualify For Better Rates

Boosting Your Credit Score To Qualify For Better Rates

The better your credit score, the better the mortgage interest rate for which you should qualify. That can mean thousands of dollars saved over the life of the mortgage. If your credit score needs improving, get started prior to your search for a new home.

Pay Bills On Time
The simplest way to boost your credit score is by ensuring your bills are always paid on time. Nothing harms a credit score more than late payments.

Check for Credit Report Errors
Check your credit reports for any errors. These issues are not uncommon, and can really impact your score. Each of the three major credit card reporting bureaus –Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion –will provide you with a free annual report.

Credit Utilization Rate
Look into your credit utilization, or CU, rate. The CU rate is another big credit score consideration. Your CU rate is the amount of credit authorized versus the amount you use. It’s one reason maxing out your credit cards is not a wise move.

Never allow your CU rate to exceed more than 30 percent of your available credit. In simple terms if you have $1,000 in available credit, never use more than $300. High CU rates are a red flag, as they indicate someone with potential financial problems. For best results, keep your CU rate as low as you can.
Calculate your CU rate by adding up the credit limits on all cards, as well as the balances. Divide the total balances by the total credit limit, then multiply by 100. That amount is your CU rate percentage.

Reduce Your Debt
If you carry credit card debt, pay it down as much as possible. That also helps lower your CU rate.

Avoid Opening New Credit Card Accounts
Do not open new credit card accounts while trying to boost your credit score.   A new account lowers the age of your accounts, affecting your credit history and lowering the CU rate.

Do Not Close Unused Credit Card Accounts
Do you have credit cards you never use? You might think closing them would boost your credit score, but that is not how it works. When you close the account, the amount of credit you have drops. That triggers a CU rate increase.

Refinancing Credit Card Debt
If you have substantial credit card debt, consider refinancing all of it with a personal loan. You should receive a lower interest rate with your balances now merged into a single monthly payment. This also causes your CU rate to go down.

How Long Will It Take?
How long it will take to improve your credit score depends on the severity of your credit problems. Those with serious credit issues may find it takes years to raise their scores significantly, but most people should see improvement within a few months. Then it is time to think about mortgage shopping!

What Are The Most Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Refinancing?

What Are The Most Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Refinancing?There are lots of people who are looking to take advantage of low interest rates to refinance their homes. This provides homeowners with an opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. It could also allow homeowners to access equity to finance a home renovation or shave years off their mortgage. On the other hand, there are also a lot of people who make mistakes during the refinancing process. What are some of the mistakes that everyone should make sure they avoid?

Avoid Saying Yes To Loan Forbearance On A Mortgage

First, try to avoid mortgage forbearance if you can. If homeowners decide to pursue mortgage forbearance, they might have a bit of extra cash on hand because they will be able to skip a few payments. On the other hand, this could signal that the homeowner has issues related to his or her cash flow. As a result, homeowners might not get the best offer possible when they apply to refinance their mortgage down the road.

Always Check The Credit Score Before Applying

Next, homeowners should always check their credit scores before they decide to apply for a refinancing opportunity. It is not unusual for people to have mistakes in their credit scores. Nobody should have to pay for someone else’s financial mistakes. Homeowners have to remove these inaccuracies from the credit report before they apply for a refinancing opportunity. That way, homeowners have access to the best terms possible.

Check The Estimate Before Agreeing To A Refinance

Finally, homeowners also have to check the estimate before they agree to a refinance. Even though there are opportunities to save a lot of money, there are other fees involved. These could include points, origination fees, and other fees that could be included in closing costs. Homeowners have to be ready to pay these costs if they are going to refinance their loans.

Avoid These Mistakes When Refinancing

These are a few of the most common mistakes people make when they go through the refinancing process. By avoiding these mistakes, homeowners can place themselves in the best position possible to save money by refinancing their loan to more favorable terms.

A Late Payment: Credit Score Impact

A Late Payment: Credit Sore ImpactThis has been a difficult year for everyone. There are a lot of people who are worried that they might not be able to keep up with their mortgage payments. Small businesses have had to close their doors and numerous individuals have been laid off from work.

It is important for homeowners to understand that banks do not want people to foreclose on their homes either. Therefore, they are often willing to work out an alternate payment plan with homeowners who are struggling due to dire financial situations. Those who are late on a mortgage payment might be wondering how this is going to impact their credit score. The answer is that it depends. 

How Does A FICO Credit Score Work? 

Someone’s credit score is a conglomeration of multiple factors including payment history, the amount of money owed, the length of the credit history,  and new credit. A late or missing mortgage payment is only going to impact one of these categories. Unfortunately, this also happens to be the largest factor, making up more than a third of the total credit score. 

A Late Mortgage Payment

First, it is important for everyone to know that a late payment is not going to impact someone’s credit score until it is late by more than a month. At the same time, people need to remember that the lender can still access a late fee. If someone has a high credit score with a long credit history, this late payment is not going to hurt as much. On the other hand, someone with a poor credit score and a short credit history might feel the sting a little bit more. 

Furthermore, it is important for people to note that a payment that is late by 60 or 90 days is going to hurt someone much more than a payment that is late by just one month. Therefore, even if a payment is going to be late, people should still try to pay it as early as possible.

Protect The Credit Score

It is important for everyone to try to do everything they can to protect their credit score. If they are worried they are not going to be able to make a mortgage payment, they should let the lender know and see what their options are.

 

Three Ways That Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage and Your Chance of Obtaining One!

Three Ways That Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage (and Your Chance of Obtaining One!)If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ve probably been thinking a lot about your credit score as well. Credit scores control so much of what we do in the world of finances, but what does your credit score really have to do with your mortgage? Here are three ways that your credit score could impact your mortgage application.

Your Credit Score Affects Your Ability To Get A Mortgage

The first thing your credit score tells a lender is whether they should lend to you at all. In some cases, if you have a very low credit score, you may not be able to obtain a mortgage at all.

Different lenders will have different criteria for determining safe and unsafe lending situations. Typically, if you have a score below the 600 mark, you’ll have trouble obtaining a mortgage.

If you’re worried about a low credit score, don’t despair – you can still get a mortgage, you just might have to work a little harder to get one. Some lenders will still lend to people with lower credit scores (just make sure you’re approaching legitimate lenders and not mortgage scam artists). Or, if time is on your side, you can work toward building up your credit score so that when it comes time to take out a mortgage, your score will be more appealing to lenders.

Your Credit Score Affects What Types Of Mortgages You Can Obtain

The second thing a lender learns from your credit score is which types of mortgages you qualify for. If a lender sees you as a higher risk, they won’t necessarily be willing to offer you just any old mortgage.

In most cases, if you have a credit score of less than 620, you won’t qualify for a conventional mortgage. In addition, if you have a lower credit score, you may have to make a larger down payment in order to qualify for the type of mortgage you want.

Your Credit Score Affects Your Interest Rate

The final thing that a lender learns from your credit score is what type of interest rate they’re willing to offer you. As a general rule, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate.

However, just because you have a high credit score, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get a great mortgage rate. There’s more that goes into the price of a mortgage than just the interest rate, so watch out for additional factors like extra fees, mortgage insurance, lock-in periods, and so on.

Your credit score tells a lender a lot about what type of borrower you are. Ultimately, a higher credit score means that you’ll be able to borrow money at a lower interest rate. But if your score is low, don’t worry – there’s a lot you can do to bring up that score before you apply for a mortgage, so don’t throw in the towel just yet!

Every financial situation is different, so if you want to find out more about how your credit score will affect your mortgage in your specific circumstance, talk to your mortgage professional.

Find The Best Mortgage Deal With A Few Simple Steps

Find The Best Mortgage Deal With A Few Simple StepsCurrently, this is a great time to be in the market for a new home. The interest rates on mortgages have fallen countless times over the past few years. Even though interest rates have been in the double-digits in the past, there are homeowners today who are able to agree to a mortgage for less than three percent. 

Despite the low interest rates, it is still important to get the best possible deal. There are a few simple steps that everyone should follow to get the best mortgage deal possible.

Know How Much You Need

The first step is to figure out what type of mortgage is required. Some potential homeowners might be looking for a mortgage they can get with a small down payment. Other potential homeowners might be looking for a mortgage they can pay off quickly.

Remember, the goal is to eventually own the home outright. The goal is not to pay as much interest as possible. Therefore, try to figure out what type of loans are available. Then, decide which loan best matches the needs.

Know The Market

Next, it is important to know what the market is doing. First, consider what the market looks like on a national level. Where do the average interest rates currently sit? Are these interest rates for 15-year loans or 30-year loans? Are the interest rates for fixed-rate loans or adjustable-rate loans?

Then, know what the market looks like in the local area. What are some of the current mortgage rates for loans in the given area? This will give potential homeowners a decent idea of what the current market looks like.

Get The Credit Score In Order

In addition, it is critical to take steps to ensure the credit score is as solid as possible. Some people only check the credit score when it is time to take out a loan. Try to do this as early as possible. There might be errors on the credit report that can influence someone’s score.

The credit score is important because it gives the lender an idea of what someone’s financial history looks like. A higher credit score means the lender is taking on less risk. In this situation, the lender might be willing to lower the potential interest rate.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

8 Ways To Maintain A Great Credit Score

8 Ways To Maintain A Great Credit ScoreHaving an excellent credit score is very useful. The following are some tips on how to maintain a superb credit score.

Open Credit Accounts When You Do Not Need Them

If you don’t have any credit accounts, you will have a low score. The best time to open them is when you do not need them. Keep a small balance on them and pay it all off at the end of each month to avoid paying interest.

Charge Up To Half The Credit Limit Then Pay It All Back Within A Few Months

If you must use a credit line, only use half of it and pay it back quickly.

Buy Big Ticket Items With A Credit Card For Cash Back And Points

Even if you can pay cash for a big ticket item, you may find it beneficial to buy it with a card that gives a reward for making a purchase like cash back or rewards points. Then pay off the balance as quickly as you can.

Ask For An Increased Credit Line

For credit accounts that you have been paying on time, call the customer service department and tell them you are thinking about buying something that is slightly above your credit limit. Ask them if they can extend the limit. This usually works even if you do not actually buy something.

You can attempt to raise your credit limit this way about once per year. As you increase your available credit capacity while maintaining all accounts in a “paid as agreed” status, your credit score should go up.

Move Credit Balances To A New Card With Zero Interest

Many credit card companies offer a zero-interest period for transfers of credit card balances from another card. After doing this, transfer this balance, once again, to another card that has a similar offer before the zero-interest period expires.

Close Old Accounts When New Ones Are Open

Having too many credit card accounts can lower your score. Keep about half a dozen cards. Close the ones that you transferred the balance from to zero interest cards.

Use Automatic Payments To Make Sure Bills Are Paid On Time

Never miss a payment or pay late. You may want to use automatic bill payment systems to make sure you never let a bill slip by.

Monitor Credit Card Activity For Unauthorized Use

Monitor all credit card activity in real time. Immediately take action if you notice an unauthorized charge. Monitor your credit history file on the three credit bureau services of Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.

Your trusted home mortgage professional can provide you with additional guidelines to improve and maintain your credit while preparing to purchase or refinance your home. Be sure to contact this valuable resource if you have any questions.

Mortgage Challenges For Self-Employed Home Buyers

Mortgage Challenges For Self-Employed Home BuyersIt’s no secret that mortgage lending institutions look favorably on steady paychecks and positive debt-to-income ratios. That can leave many self-employed prospective home buyers feeling anxious about getting approved for a mortgage. But just like the 9-to-5ers who get regular paychecks, self-employed people earning a good living can get approved with a little due diligence.

The primary concern of mortgage lenders is not necessarily where your revenue comes from, it’s confidence that you can meet the monthly obligations. A lender probably wouldn’t see a significant difference between someone who was paid every two weeks and another paid monthly. Why should a self-employed earner be any different? While there are differences, that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

Self-Employed Mortgage Applicants Face ‘Different’ Scrutiny

When reviewing a self-employed person’s mortgage application, the lender can expand their consideration to items related to your business. Factors such as stability, longevity, location, and viability are issues that can come into play.

This type of review mirrors that of steady paycheck earners in terms of length of employment, history of layoffs and other potential revenue setbacks. There really isn’t a higher standard for self-employed mortgage applicants. You enjoy a different professional life, and the process reflects those differences. That being said, there are a number of things you can do to put your best foot forward toward mortgage approval.

Strengthen Your Self-Employed Mortgage Application

First and foremost, every mortgage applicant must be able to demonstrate an ability to meet the monthly payments on paper. There is no way around the debt-to-income ratio. And although many self-employed people exercise some lifestyle flexibility in terms of tax deductions, your numbers have to prove you can take on a mortgage. That being said, there are important items you may want to consider when applying for a home loan.

  • Revenue Stability: Volatile swings in revenue are not generally persuasive. Lenders tend to like steady and positive growth reflected in your business and personal earnings.
  • Tax Returns Matter: This can be particularly problematic for people who find creatively legal ways to make revenue tax exempt. Home offices and company cars can lower your taxable income, but they also reduce your ability to pay the mortgage, at least on paper. Plan ahead by strategically filing strong earned-revenue tax returns.
  • Consistency Matters: There are a few ways to demonstrate consistency. It can be level monthly earnings or multiple years of tax returns in the same business. Your income may only be considered if it fluctuates in a way that frightens lenders.
  • Good Credit: Some cash-oriented people tend to discount the value of credit scores. The adage that “cash is king” may apply to the down payment, but a poor credit history can hurt your chances with lenders. Think “credit is king” when applying for a home loan.

Being self-employed does not mean you are at a strategic disadvantage when applying for a mortgage. But keep in mind that the home loan review can be slightly different. As always, your best next step would be to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to go over your personal situation.

Understanding the Factors That Impact Your Credit Score

Understanding the Factors That Impact Your Credit ScoreMost consumers believe if they pay their bills on time, they need not worry about their credit score. Oftentimes, it is a rude awakening when they apply for a mortgage loan, car loan, or any revolving credit to learn they are not going to get the lowest rates available due to their credit score. This is because paying bills on time only accounts for 35 percent of your credit score. The remaining 65 percent is spread out among other factors that impact your credit score.

Credit Usage and Impact on Score

Nearly one-third, 30 percent, of your credit score is based on how much of your available credit you are using. For example, if you have combined credit available of $100,000 and you use $90,000, you will suffer a decline in your credit score. Those consumers who have similar credit lines and are using $9,000 will get a slight bump in their score.

New Credit vs. Old Credit

We seldom think about how long we have held a line of credit open. However, some consumers “exchange” credit lines for other credit lines due to special offers made by credit card companies. This is not necessarily a good idea since 15 percent of your credit score is determined by the age of your credit accounts. The longer you have had an account, the better in most cases. The calculation will take all open credit accounts, take the amount of time they have been open and get an “average age”. If you have six accounts which have been open less than a year and six that have been open five years, the newer accounts will count against you in this case.

Mixing up Credit Lines

A consumer who has only a mortgage and a single credit score will take a modest hit on their credit score versus a consumer who has multiple credit cards, a mortgage, and an auto loan. The types of credit you have will account for 10 percent of your credit score and the more varied your open credit lines, the better. While it is inadvisable to open new credit lines simply to show a variety of types, having installment loans, retail credit cards, and traditional credit cards is a good idea.

New Lines of Credit Opened

One danger many consumers are unaware of is suddenly opening new lines of credit. For example, a new homeowner may open a new account with a home improvement store, a general retail store, and a new credit card to help them furnish and repair their new home. This could be a red flag since the credit lines are new, and there is no established history on the mortgage, or the new credit lines. Since this factor accounts for 10 percent of your credit score, you could suffer a temporary decline in your credit score.

Consumers should be aware of the factors which impact their credit score, and also be aware of the factors that do not impact their scores. Understanding your credit score may be the most important tool you have when buying a home, or refinancing your current mortgage.

Please contact your trusted mortgage professional to discuss how your credit score may be impacting your ability to finance your next home purchase.